Beth Allen is hoping to shoot some low numbers at Gullane next month – after giving the thumbs up to a maths initiative for the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open double-header at the East Lothian venue.
The men’s event, with Masters champion Patrick Reed and five-time major winner Phil Mickelson spearheading a star-studded line-up, takes place for the second time at Gullane on 12-15 July.
A fortnight later, former world No.1 Lydia Ko, American ace Michelle Wie and Solheim Cup captain Catriona Matthew will all be in an equally strong field for the ladies’ equivalent as it is held there for the first time.
For both events, the standard 1 to 18 numbering on all hole flags in the first round will be replaced by maths calculations that equate to the number for each hole on the composite course.
Eighteen schools across East Lothian took part in a competition that is part of Scottish Government’s ‘Making Maths Count’ initiative and the names of the schools who have submitted the calculations will also feature on the flags.
The equation for the ninth hole – 1/6 of 54 – was submitted by Athelstaneford Primary School, near Haddington, and Edinburgh-based American Allen delighted pupils by paying a visit there this week.
“They were so excited and it was great to see them like that about a golf event and golf in general,” she said. “Clubgolf, Active Schools and Scottish Golf do a really good job and it is great that kids are being encouraged to get into golf.
“They made it fun for the kids and everyone really enjoyed it. Quite a few had played golf before but some hadn’t. They were all up for it and it was great fun.”
Allen, who topped the LET Order of Merit in 2016, can’t wait to tee it up at Gullane on 26-29 July, having paid a number of visits there already to try and get herself prepared for an event that is now co-sanctioned by the US-based LPGA.
“I’ve spent a lot of time down at Gullane and Alasdair Good, the pro there, has been very welcoming to me in that respect, which I really appreciate,” she said. “It’s a great part of Scotland and I think everyone is going to enjoy the village as well as the golf course. I think it is going to be awesome.
“We all appreciate the event now being played on the same course as the men’s Scottish Open. We feel equal, almost. It’s really cool to have the same infrastructure in place for both events and I also enjoy getting the opportunity to watch the men go about playing the same course we are tackling. You can do a bit of homework.
“If the hot weather continues, it will really be playing fiery and I think that would be an advantage for me as I’m used to play a lot of links golf now. Dundonald played a bit soft last year and I think that played into the hands of players who are not used to a fast and firm links.”